“When the Soldiers Come, the People Leave”: Life Under Israeli Occupation

 By Madronna Holden

“There is a Palestinian saying that all the politicians should be sent to the moon so that they can look back and see that we all live on one world”– a Palestinian-American teacher at BirZeit.

During the recent US election, Canadian Sabina Lautensach observed in her editorial in the Journal of Human Security that those outside the US have no vote in the US election—even if  US policy radically affects their lives.  Democracy implies that those effected by an action have some say in determining it, but not only does the rest of the world get no chance to  vote on the US policy that impinges on  it– but those who do vote in the US election have too  little sense of the affects of their government’s policies on the rest of the world.

Take, for instance, the Israeli Military Occupation of Palestinian territory.  Few US citizens have any sense what is it like to live under such an occupation—which is heavily financed by US dollars.  I certainly did not before I taught at BirZeit University in the Occupied Tterritories.

You might  guess how naive I was by the fact that I brought my two month old daughter with me to live there.

Though it has been many years since then, the dynamics I witnessed have grown no better for the civilian Palestinian population–especially in Gaza. In this context, it is timely to fill out the record of my personal witness of the occupation that I first wrote a bit about here.

October 1982

One of my students in my early morning class comes up afterwards to tell me, “I am sorry I did not participate in class. I did not exactly sleep so well. Last night the soldiers came.”  Palestinian Diary more

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